Chemical Isolation of Fullertubes: Are They Nanotubes or Fullerenes?
Fullertubes are a tubular form of carbon that are rarely studied due to low yields and separation hurdles. The fullertube structure represents a merging of a rolled graphene moiety (single wall nanotube belt region) and two fullerene-based endcaps, whose axis of symmetry can be hexagonal or pentagonal. The fullerene and nanotube substructures in fullertubes offer scientists a unique molecular scaffold for building new 2D and 3D molecular, supramolecular, and polymeric architectures. We are currently looking to entrap atoms inside the fullertube cavity. For the cage surface, derivatization of the carbon structure would result in new materials for fundamental science and applications. It should be possible to leverage the existing literature on nanotubes and fullerenes in future fullertube research. Other advantages of fullertubes include (1) reproducible structures, (2) fixed aspect ratios, (3) defined molecular weights, and (4) solubility in organic solvents. In this talk, we describe a new chemical-based purification method to isolate fullertubes in sufficient quantities for collaborative experiments. This scalable method allows us to enrich fullertube concentrations by factors of 100-1000 times. Further, this approach allows us to isolate “giant” fullerene structures that are previously unreported. A key question is as follows: Are these newly discovered carbon species spheres or tubes? We will discuss our most recent experimental findings.
~ Coffee/tea will be served prior to lecture~